Dogs are, by nature, active creatures. Maybe you’ve noticed how your furry friend loves to run, jump, and roll around a lot, although not as much and as intense as when he was a puppy. If your old dog keeps walking in circles, however, that’s an entirely different matter. Walking around in circles isn’t considered normal behavior in dogs, so if you notice your old dog suddenly exhibiting this behavior, pay attention. Something is wrong with this picture.
There are several probable reasons why your old dog has made a habit of walking around in circles. Fear and insecurity could be one of those reasons. Perhaps your dog has been injured or abused in the past by some other person. Your dog walks around in circles to keep his territory in check and make sure there’s nothing around that can harm them. It’s normal for dogs to do a thorough check of their environment before they hit the sack, but if the pacing around in circles becomes extreme, talk to your vet about it.
Another reason why your old dog keeps walking in circles is canine vestibular disease (CVD). This condition, also called the old-dog vestibular syndrome, occurs when a problem takes place in the connection between the inner and middle ear and the brain. This leads to ataxia, “an inability to coordinate voluntary muscular movements that is symptomatic of some central nervous system disorders and injuries and not due to muscle weakness.” In CVD, your dog’s balance and coordination are affected, resulting in a drunken gait or motion.
There are several causes of vestibular diseases in dogs. Ear infection, hypothyroidism, toxins, and tumors are some of the most likely causes. Take your dog to the vet right away if you suspect any of these as the culprit behind your dog’s pacing around in circles.
If your old dog keeps walking in circles constantly, he could have Alzheimer’s disease. Dogs, like humans, are also plagued by conditions brought about by aging that affect their neurological system. In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, your old dog could be confused and disoriented; hence, he walks around in circles. Your pooch may have no idea who or where he is, so he walks around trying to reorient himself with his environment. Sometimes your dog may be unaware he is walking around in circles at all.
As a dog owner, there isn’t much you can do right away to address the issue of your dog pacing around restlessly. Do not try to prevent your dog from walking around in circles as it could increase his stress and anxiety level, adding to his discomfort. It’s best to take your old dog to the vet the moment you spot this odd behavior in your dog. Your vet knows best, so never attempt to treat the condition on your own. It could do more harm than good to your dog, and you wouldn’t want that.
You can do your part as your dog’s owner by making sure your dog is comfortable and at ease in his surroundings. Avoid placing him in stressful situations that could aggravate his condition. Show your old dog how much he means to you by hugging and touching him as much as you can. In this tough time, your dog needs all the love and care he can get.